Gold rush

Miners in Australia unearth huge gold-encrusted rocks worth $11m

'Once-in-a-lifetime discovery' of rare specimens in underground mine could rank among world's largest-ever gold finds

Gold-laced rocks found unearthed at the Beta Hunt mine in Western Australia in September 2018. (CNW Group/RNC Minerals)

Miners in western Australia last week unearthed two massive gold encrusted rocks estimated to be worth millions of dollars, a find geologists are calling a “once in a century discovery.”

Canadian company RNC Minerals on Monday said its miners discovered the unusual quartz rocks 500 meters below the surface at its Beta Hunt facility near the town of Kambalda last week.

RNC said the larger rock weighs 95 kilograms and contains some 2,440 ounces of high-grade gold, and a second, 63 kilogram rock contains an estimated 1,620 ounces of gold.

“Recovering 9,250 ounces of high grade coarse gold from a single cut on the 15 level at our Beta Hunt mine, including specimens which could rank among the largest ever discovered, underlines the importance of this discovery,” RNC chief executive Mark Selby said in a statement.

Selby said the rare rocks would be auctioned as collectors items.

Senior geologist Zaf Thanos told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the find at Beta Hut was “a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.”

“You might go your whole life and you’ll never see anything like it. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” he said. “This sort of bonanza is incredibly unique.”

Professor Sam Spearing, director of the Western Australia School of Mines at Curtin University, called the high concentration of gold discovered “exceedingly rare.”

“People do still record finding nuggets in the goldfields, but typically they are less than several ounces,” he said.

“Very, very seldom do we see results on that level,” Spearing added. “This is an exceedingly rare find and very exciting.”

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